new policies including land rent. Unfortunately, it did not work as successful as he expected. De Haan and van Niel have argued its failure was based on the lack of capable civil administrators supported by technical experts.1 Moreover, before Raffles could do anything further, the British government handed the land back to the Dutch based on The Congress of Vienna in 1814. When the colony was actually returned to the Dutch in 1816, they were left with a partially implemented British land tax system that required a massive overhaul. The unfair land tax, which was not based on exact land measurements, coupled with the failed monetary policy meant the Dutch East Indies was not productive for the mother country—which had suffered through a financial crisis during the wars. The main priorities for the Dutch at that time were economic recovery and order re-establishment. To do that, the central government in the Netherlands sent special Commissioners (Kommissarissen Generaal) in 1816 with the specific task to construct a government in the East Indies archipelago under the sovereign rule of the King of the Netherlands. They were given the power to accept, reject, or alter policies and institutions, as seemed best, to fit the humanitarian freedoms and rights while respecting the customs and religions of all.2 The period of 1816 onward was also the starting point of the recognition of the colony as a political entity. Although the state character was present under the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC), the regime in 1816 onward formalized the legal position of the Dutch toward indigenous populations and therefore was closer to the modern concept of a state. The bureaucracy development that followed was a direct result of a colonial state formation. The commissions lasted four years, and in 1819 the authority in the Dutch East Indies was entrusted to a Governor General as the representative of the Dutch crown. Before leaving, however, a constitution (Regeringsreglement) was issued as the guideline for governance. Along with the enactment of this regulation, organizations were established as part of the Dutch East Indies government's assisting bodies, among them the Raad van Indië (Indies Council) which formed Hoge Regering (High Government), Binnenlandsch Bestuur (Internal Affairs), Raad van Financiën (Financial Council), Algemene Rekenkamer (General Accounting Office), and Hoog Geregtshof (Court of Justice), and a secretariat to assist the Governor General and High Government, Algemene Secretarie (General Secretariat). The decision-making process in the colony involving interactions among government organizations produced a massive amount of administrative output which still exists today in the archive. As one of the forms of information, archives are an indispensable basis for decision making of the government. For the present day user they are also the connector to the past. As primary sources of historical scientific research they are sometimes seen as the representation of the truth, reality, or what was happening. Anthropologist Ann Laura Stoler uses the term 'archival turn' to describe how historians should not only focus on mining information from individual documents, but should read the archive itself as an artefact. The changing focus on history as narrative and history writing as a charged political act over the last decades has also provided new theoretical basis for the archives, bringing a shift from archives-as-source to archives-as-subject.3 To Stoler, what COLONIAL LEGACY IN SOUTH EAST ASIA - THE DUTCH ARCHIVES 1 Niel, Java's Northeast Coast 1740-1840, 280. 2 Niel, Java's Northeast Coast 1740-1840, 291. 3 Stoler, 'Colonial Archives and the Arts of Governance', 86. 114

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Jaarboeken Stichting Archiefpublicaties | 2012 | | pagina 116